Christie's Geneva watch sale to celebrate the history of Rolex
A forthcoming Christie's sale will celebrate the history of Rolex, with an entire afternoon dedicated to the iconic Swiss brand.
The afternoon session of the company's Important Watches auction will offer 116 timepieces, spanning 55 different references and almost a century of precision watch making.
And with estimates ranging from $2,000 to $800,000, the auction looks set to offer something for everyone.
"This is the largest gathering of Rolex timepieces any auction house has ever offered in one single afternoon, and we are delighted to take young as well as established collectors and watch enthusiasts on a discovery tour," said Christie's.
Leading the sale is a newly-discovered Rolex gold 6264 'Paul Newman' chronograph (top), fresh to the market and believed to be possibly unique.
The watch one of just four known examples to feature a highly rare lemon-yellow dial, and has the added feature of being 'tropicalized': a process in which black dials fade over time to a rich brown tone.
'Tropical' dials are usually found on Rolex sports models, which have had years of exposure to sunlight, and are highly sought-after by collectors seeking watches with an authentic vintage patina.
Made circa 1970, this beautifully-aged, lemon dial Paul Newman chronograph has had just two owners from new, and is expected to sell for $500,000-$800,000.
Another standout lot is a Ref.6263 Oyster Cosmograph 'Green Khanjar' Daytona, one of a small series specially created for the Sultan of Oman in 1972.
The Sultan commissioned the watches to be given as tokens of his appreciation, and less than 10 examples of this model in stainless steel are known to exist. This newly-discovered example was presented to the current owner by the Sultan in 1974, and now comes to auction with an estimate of $320,000-$420,000.
Further rare highlights from the sale will include a Ref.6241 14K Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with a black 'John Player Special Paul Newman' Dial, valued at $200,000-$400,000; a Ref.6543 Stainless Steel Automatic Anti-Magnetic 'Milgauss' Wristwatch estimated at $150,000-$250,000; and a Ref. 5513 Stainless Steel Oyster Perpetual Wristwatch with a 'Tropical' Underline Explorer Dial, estimated at $120,000-$200,000.
"Rolex stands for exploration, by reaching the limits of this planet, by exploring the deepest and highest points, the coldest and hottest spots, it translates to speed from 1 horse power to 500+ as well as to cultural activities," said Christie's.
"But most importantly, Rolex stands for precision in a timeless design on which people have relied on since 1905. Reasons enough to celebrate this timepiece in all its facettes by staging the first ever stand-alone Rolex auction afternoon."
The Christie's Important Watches sale takes place in Geneva on May 15.
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